The Philadelphia Phillies have their eyes set on more than the NL wild card.
The Phillies continue their playoff push this weekend with three games against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Jon Lieber pitched eight strong innings and the Phillies scored four runs in the ninth to take another series from Atlanta with a 4-0 victory Thursday.
Philadelphia won two of three at Turner Field, closing within four games of the NL East-leading Braves with nine left. The Phillies have made things interesting by beating the Braves five times in seven games over two weeks.
“Our whole thought process is on winning the division,” Lieber said. “That’s all that’s on our minds.”
As for the backup plan, Philadelphia remained two games behind Houston in the wild-card race. The Astros won their third straight, 2-1 at Pittsburgh on Thursday.
“It’s more or less just winning games at this point,” Philadelphia’s Michael Tucker said. “If you win games, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, at least you give yourself a chance. That’s all we’re trying to do right now.”
The Reds have been reduced to the role of spoiler. They head into Friday after taking two of three from NL Central champion St. Louis, and have won seven of 12.
Edwin Encarnacion’s bases-loaded double completed a five-run rally in the eighth inning that gave Cincinnati a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday.
“We played all-around good baseball today,” infielder Ryan Freel said. “That’s what happens when you do the little things. This is something to build on.”